Chau seeking five straight with Son Pak Fu at Happy Valley
By Declan Schuster
Son Pak Fu has shown sensational improvement throughout the second half of this season and the four-year-old is chasing a fifth consecutive win at Happy Valley when he lines up in Wednesday night’s (17 May) Class 3 Aldrich Bay Handicap (1200m).
On a remarkable upward spiral after failing to place across his first five starts, Son Pak Fu has continued to raise expectations – and his rating – as he returns tomorrow with an added 13 pounds assigned after his three-length blitz in the grade at the end of April.
Jockey Jerry Chau has been ever-present throughout the bay’s 11-start career in Hong Kong and he remains hopeful of overcoming barrier 11 and the hefty impost.
“It will be a bit difficult now because last time he added a lot of points to his rating, he has a wide barrier and top weight – it will make it difficult. He’s a horse that keeps improving and I believe he can do a good job again,” Chau said.
Chau pins the Fighting Sun gelding’s recent success down to an improved manner: “He is getting very settled this season, even in trackwork and race day. He is settling down and he is no longer fighting me – he just listens to me. It makes it easier to control him.”
Trained by Benno Yung, Son Pak Fu shares top billing in the race with Family Folks (135lb) on a rating of 79, while Brave Star (127lb), Nicconi County (127lb), Allgreektome (122lb), Golden Link (118lb) and Juneau Flash (117lb) also feature.
Son Pak Fu has risen 36 rating points across his last four wins, earning 12 of these for his effortless triumph last start.
“Every time when I press the button, he gives me a very good turn of foot. I hope tomorrow he can do the same again,” Chau said.
Howdeepisyourlove is among a raft of emerging talent from the John Size stable this season and the three-year-old is aiming for back-to-back wins in tomorrow night’s Class 2 Victoria Harbour Handicap (1200m) under Karis Teetan.
“He’s progressing nicely, after every win he is maturing. I believe after his run at Sha Tin he improved a bit and I felt it last time. Going forward, he’s a very smart horse,” Teetan said.
Size leads the trainers’ championship by nine wins over Frankie Lor (61-52), and Howdeepisyourlove, along with Beauty Eternal, Red Lion, Golden Express and Sweet Encounter boast a combined 19 wins for the master trainer throughout their maiden racing season in Hong Kong.
“He’s (Howdeepisyourlove) in great hands with Mr Size. He knows the horse is doing well, so he’s running him where the horse can run and he looks like he is in good shape. It’s going to be a nice race for him tomorrow,” Teetan said.
Hugh Bowman moved to 50 wins for the term on Saturday afternoon (13 May) at Sha Tin and the Australian heads to Happy Valley with eight rides, including the lightly-raced E Universe in the first section of the Class 4 Siu Sai Wan Handicap (1200m).
“He is going really well, he is a very consistent horse – he’s proven that since his career began in Hong Kong. He’s raced well at Happy Valley, I would have preferred a little bit more of an inside draw with him but he has good tactical pace and he does it pretty well,” Bowman said.
Trained by Manfred Man, E Universe breaks from barrier eight this week and has placed twice from three outings, finishing a close-up second in both of his most recent starts.
“He really knows his job, so I’m looking forward to riding him again. He’s just been a model of consistency and I love the effort that he puts in,” Bowman said.
Wednesday’s (17 May) nine-race fixture at Happy Valley kicks off at 6.45pm with the Class 5 Waterfall Bay Handicap (1200m).